“There’s only one thing you need to know about The Divine Comedy,” according to the Reduced Shakespeare Company: “Not funny.” Summaries of that irreverent sort are how the RSC (tee hee) gets through All the Great Books (Abridged) in 110 minutes, and let no one say that players Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor, and Matthew Croke don’t take a ballsy approach to the canon. (Literally, at one point: There’s an audience-participation bit involving beach balls.) The show’s conceit is a remedial Western Lit course with the audience standing in for the class, and it’s emblematic of the company’s comedy that the reading list encompasses not just The Aeneid and Orlando but Dianetics and Green Eggs and Ham—though it excludes The Fellowship of the Ring and The Communist Manifesto. (“No fantasy,” explains an instructor.) Everything on the syllabus gets condensed with a little help from pop culture and (sorta) current events: An argument over Huck Finn’s use of the N-word draws a puzzled “Enron?” from Croke’s dimwit student teacher; The Iliad’s Trojan warrior Paris wears a beret and surrenders almost instantly; and Little Women gets a brusque locker-room précis courtesy of Martin’s “Coach” character. (The girls lost their dad to free agency during the Civil War, we’re told; “he signed with the Yankees.”) Per RSC tradition (see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and similar distillations of American history and the Bible), there’s actual information imparted between the jokes; not least among the production’s virtues is a reasonably on-target overview of War and Peace. But for all the energy and cleverness the guys bring to their latest effort, the hilarity can seem a little strained: Croke’s Achilles moans about “the agony of de feet,” for instance, and it turns out nobody likes the Telemachia because “they always call during dinner.” Har. Har.—Trey Graham